March 2016
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March 2016
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Teaching Soft Skills Is Possible
Saturday, February 27, 2016

Soft skills, such as emotional intelligence and effective modes of communication, are important in shaping a successful employee, but are very difficult to teach. However, it is possible to cultivate soft skills as long as the training programs used to teach them are thoughtfully designed. First, it’s important to create an intrinsic reward system. Soft skills come from within, so rather than offering the typical rewards for completing training and demonstrating new proficiencies, such as extra time off or a cash bonus, use opportunities for career advancement. This way, trainees feel motivated to participate, and view the training itself as a reward. Next, the training program should be designed with critical thinking in mind. Unlike technical skills, soft skills are not concrete. Instead, they refer to how an employee will approach a situation or react to unknown situations. Situational training that takes this into account is more effective than a formulaic, universal approach. Lastly, the training program should evoke emotion within an employee. When trainees experience a strong emotion during training, they are more likely to reference that training moment when they are presented with the same emotion in real life.

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